Email may be an old-school strategy in the digital marketing world, but it continues to be a top performer for brands. If your emails aren’t generating at least 23% of your total ecommerce revenue, your strategy might need a little TLC.
A strong email marketing program can generate over 50% of a brand’s revenue. This year, the average return on email marketing investments is 42:1, up from 38:1 last year. However, as email becomes a more effective means of generating revenue, competition within your customers’ inboxes is intensifying.
In this blog, you’ll learn the top five components of an effective email strategy. The rest will be featured in our webinar with the experts at Essence of Email. All webinar attendees will receive an exclusive 80-page edition of the Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Emails, which dives deeply into the email strategies that will help you increase revenue through email.
1. Develop Strong Email Architecture
First things first, having a streamlined layout for your email templates will drive click-throughs and conversions. Incremental A/B testing will help you find the optimal template for your brand; however, there are some tried-and-true elements to include in a good ecommerce email template. Below, you’ll see an example of an effective email layout.
2. Prioritize Mobile-Responsive Design
44% of emails are viewed on cell phones, while only 33% are viewed on desktop. The goal of mobile-responsive design is to highlight your content on all devices and screen sizes. This means that instead of having a static version of your content, the template adapts to best fit the screen.
To make sure your emails are primed for mobile, be sure to consider each of these elements:
- Create clear sections: It’s important to have clear sections in your emails for mobile. Use dividers and other visual elements to portion out the parts of your email.
- Smaller image files: There are restrictions on file size. For example, the Gmail App loads only 102 KB by default.
- Larger font sizes: As a rule of thumb, aim for 17-22 px (17 px for the body, 22 px for headers).
- Buttons vs. text links: Buttons are easier to click on than text links, so make ample use of buttons—particularly bulletproof buttons (HTML-styled “buttons”). A good practice is to make them at least 44x44 px in order to make clicking easier for all readers.
- Make text links clear: Underline your links to signal to the user that they are clickable.
- Hide non-essential elements: Non-essential elements include the header navigation and other, less important elements.
3. Create a Content Calendar
When developing campaigns, you should make a yearly calendar to plan content releases. This is crucial for maintaining consistency and organization, especially if you have multiple team members working on your campaigns. Your email calendar should include:
• Holidays: gifting holidays, general holidays, busy season
• Events: pop-up shops, contests, news
• Promotions: discounts, shipping offers, flash sales
• Content: blog posts, videos, user-generated content
• Recurring emails: featured products, seasonal category, the product of the month
Content calendars can be as simple as color-coded Excel spreadsheets. You can find examples of some effective content calendars here.
4. Automate Your Emails
Automated emails are pre-created emails triggered by subscriber behavior. The trigger event is usually an action, such as making a purchase, abandoning a cart, or signing up for a list.
Companies who send automated emails are 133% more likely to send relevant messages that correspond to a customer’s purchase cycle. They significantly affect open and click-through rates, as displayed by research showing that triggered emails have a 70% higher open rate and a 152% higher click-through rate than generic email newsletters.
One of the most common types of email automation is resending. An email resend refers to sending nearly the same campaign to a portion of the original target list.
Email resends can normally generate 50% of the original email’s revenue. In rare instances, they may even outperform the original email’s revenue.
They usually have the following characteristics:
- Sent a few days after the original campaign
- Sent to subscribers who did not open (most common), did not click (less common), or did not order from (uncommon) the original campaign
- Have a different subject line and preheader from the original email
- Same or very similar content to the original campaign
5. Segment and Optimize Your Emails
Email segmentation is at the core of effective email marketing. Segmented messaging has been proven to generate more engagement, increase sales conversions, and retain subscribers.
How to Build a Subscriber Profile
Oftentimes, we have incomplete data about our subscribers. However, we can use a variety of tactics to construct a profile for each subscriber. For example, you can have an email capture form on your website that asks only for an email address, first name, and last name.
Here are a couple of ways to start building a more robust subscriber profile:
- Reverse appending: Using external data providers to fill in demographic and personal information based on your file of email addresses.
- Behavioral cues: Utilizing a subscriber’s behavior—such as which links they click, what pages they view, and what category of products they purchase—to build their profile.
- Prediction engines: Product-based or subscriber-based prediction algorithms that use past history, as well as related characteristics, to show predictive content.
- User-submitted info: Surveys, feedback forms, and preference centers are reliable sources; however, this information is often harder to obtain and requires engaged contacts.
Building relevant segments is a long process, but you can constantly increase precision by using your company’s resources or by hiring a professional agency.